kandal province – Two Alliance of Democrats leaders took to the road on Sunday for a tour of Kandal province aimed at garnering public support for government reform and a new prime minister.
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy and Funcinpec Deputy Secretary-General Nhiek Bun Chhay visited six communes throughout Sa’ang and Koh Thom districts, saying that the Alliance will take its time to get what it wants before it joins a new government.
“We want a tripartite government and a new prime minister. If the [new government] is as corrupt as the old one, we don’t need it,” Sam Rainsy said. “The people aren’t getting any poorer. We’ve got time,” he said.
Employing the same anti-Vietnamese rhetoric used during his election campaign, Sam Rainsy wooed crowds of up to 200 listeners with promises of border protection and a strengthened immigration law. “The youn came to take Khmer land, take away jobs from Khmers,” he said. “There are more foreigners than Khmers, and about 80 percent of them are youn” in Koh Thom.
Sam Rainsy insisted there would be no systemic expulsion of Vietnamese living in Cambodia. But, he said, distinctions must be made between the living and working status of all foreigners in Cambodia based on visa regulations.
More muted but equally firm, Nhiek Bun Chhay echoed Sam Rainsy’s demands for government reform in what appeared to be one of the first campaign tours Funcinpec and opposition party officials have made as the Alliance of Democrats. “We need a new government responsive to the nation’s interest. We hope the new government will be good, clean and really serve the people,” Nhiek Bun Chhay said.
Immigration law enforcement, the passage of an anti-corruption law, and an overhaul of the National Election Commission and judicial system are among the reforms Sam Rainsy said the Alliance requires of the third mandate—on top of a new prime minister. Acknowledging that talks could continue indefinitely, Sam Rainsy said Sunday’s trip would be the first of many.
to promote the Alliance’s platform nationwide.
“If the deadlock continues to drag on, this will build pressure from the grassroots community to push for a new government,” he said.